Branding in Independent Schools: Identifying Important Aspects of the School Branding Process

Frank Anthony Patti, University of Pennsylvania


Branding in independent schools is a topic that has not been fully explored by researchers in the field of marketing and branding. Many factors have forced independent schools to begin to look at brand management as a way to respond to sudden enrollment issues. The recession of 2008, increasing quality of public schools, and the rising cost of an independent school education are three major factors that have prompted independent schools to think much more carefully about their images. Although there is some research on the ways that colleges and universities successfully apply branding strategies, K-12 independent schools have very little academic research on which to rely. The purpose of this research project was to explore the branding process in K-12 independent schools through a case study of one independent school’s professionally led branding initiative. Research on college and university branding tells us that certain parts of the process are more important than others. The qualitative methods employed in this case study revealed that there are three aspects of the branding process that were particularly useful in the branding process of this independent school: understanding the social and political context of a school’s setting, engaging the faculty in the branding process, and developing clear and consistent brand messaging to the internal community. This study concludes by examining the implications of these findings for research and practice.

Subject Area

Marketing|Educational leadership

Recommended Citation

Patti, Frank Anthony, "Branding in Independent Schools: Identifying Important Aspects of the School Branding Process" (2017). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI10608474.